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Once in the Desktop you will have icons on the left side of the screen, a panel along the bottom, and a background covering the rest. The icons give you quick links to directories, URLs, and devices. You can create your own by pressing the Right mouse button over the background and selecting New and the type of link.
Probably the most important thing to know is how to get a terminal window open. You can move you mouse over the background and press the Right button. Select New then Terminal to get a terminal window open. From the terminal window you have much more control then you get from the GUI. Typing exit in a terminal window will close it.